Originally I wrote this school rejection article for undergrads. But the advice holds for MBA applicants too. If you’ve been rejected, that’s not a no forever. Just a no right now. There may be career catalyst work that makes sense. Do that before you toss more bschool applications onto the fire. Hail Mary applications only work in the movies.
I had a call this week from a family I know, but a family who chose to go through the SAT process and admission process on their own – a choice I support. That said, my advice still stands, you MUST know what you are getting into. The battle for college admission has changed since you applied Mom and Dad. Materially. Applications have tripled in 15 years, doubling in the last 10. For more see earlier posts, including this one on College Admission Rates. Even decent Legacy candidates are failing to gain admission at legacy friendly schools. Taylor didn’t just fail to get into his stretch and favorite schools, he failed to get in anywhere.
So you didn’t get into your school of choice? Time to decide what’s next. Never mind the pressure from friends, especially if they just got in and family, who mean well, but can’t live your life for you – now is the time to embrace your new *freedom*. Yes, freedom to choose your response to the rejection. You’ve got this. Time for plan B.
If you thought about Plan B before you began the process, refine your plan and get going! This post is for the rest of you who probably did not craft a Plan B before the application process began. Frankly a lack of planning for this “worst case” outcome may be the reason you’ve landed here.
1. Get in tune with what you want your life to look like in 10-15 years.
Spend quality time on this exercise. Students who can be reflective with this process get the best results. NOTE to Parents: you’ve got to let John/Jane/Sam/Susan do this on his or her own. Feel free to tie the assignment completion to continued financial support or lack thereof, but do try to stay out of the process.
What Color is Your Parachute?
Short of working with a Career Advisor one-on-one, this book is great at pushing and pulling you through the thought exercises that you need to do to comprehensively consider your future. So until I get around to publishing my Career Guidance book, this is the best resource to use. I used it at age 20 and still recommend it. They do a decent job of updating to stay current with the times.
If you can afford to join the Acorn program, that will fast track you. Look over the Acorn Program options here.
2. Discover / Consider what your strengths are.
If Mom is in Finance and Dad is in Finance, you may think all careers revolve around Finance. But what if you have no aptitude for, or interest in Finance. By the time you are preparing for college, you should have some idea of your strengths and your strong interests.
Strength: Something you do well as judged objectively by others.
Strong Interest: Something you are very interested in as judged by you.
If you aren’t sure what your strengths are – or worse you don’t think you have any! – consider an aptitude testing service. There are aptitude tests you can purchase online for not much $. But buyer beware, the aptitude tests I’ve seen offered to the public online are not very robust. Consider an in-persona assessment with a vetted career-oriented establishment.
Highly recommended: AIMS in Dallas, TX, and Johnson O’Connor, various locations throughout the US
3. Get moving!
Literally put a (good/sane/logical (do I really have to say this??)) plan in motion. It won’t be perfect and you will make mistakes. Big deal. If you can get used to making decisions, implementing those decisions and then adjusting your plans when the plans don’t pan out – all while keeping your cool – you will make a much better adult than the folks who skate through school without experiencing (substantial) failure. Some form of failure will hit. It is your reaction to it that determines your height.
You’ve got this, keep moving.